COP26: World leaders commit to ending deforestation and reducing methane emissions by 30% by 2030

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image source, Getty Images

to explain,

Trees are often cut down to create grazing land to meet the global demand for meat.

More than 100 world leaders pledged on Tuesday to end deforestation by 2030, in the first major agreement of the COP26 climate summit being held in Glasgow, Scotland.

Subsequently, at least 80 countries committed 30% reduction Methane emissions for the same year.

In the first agreement, Brazil, where large parts of the Amazon rainforest have been cut down, is among the signatories.

This agreement includes financing of up to US$19,000 million in private and public funds.

Regarding the methane deal, US President Joe Biden said that can be revolutionary.

Elimination of Forests

But not everything is optimistic about the plan to combat deforestation: experts have welcomed the global agreement, but warn that a similar agreement signed in 2014 “failed in its attempt to stop deforestation” and those commitments, already made, must be met.

Now why is it important to stop deforestation? Because forests cannot absorb the necessary amounts of carbon dioxide to reduce climate change.

The summit, which will last for two weeks and will take place in the Scottish city, is seen as crucial to controlling climate change.

Countries that have signed this agreement—including Canada, Brazil, Russia, Colombia, Bolivia, Chile, the United States, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo— Covering 85% of the forests on the planet.

image source, Getty Images

to explain,

The pace of deforestation in the Amazon has accelerated in recent years.

In addition, the governments of 28 countries have also pledged to end deforestation to produce food for export – such as meat – or other agricultural products such as palm oil, soybeans and cocoa.

These types of industries are responsible for a portion of the forest loss because they are cut down to make way for livestock or to create enough space for monoculture.

More than 30 major financial companies around the world have pledged not to fund more projects related to deforestation.

A protection fund will also be established The second largest tropical forest in the worldCongo Basin.

For Professor Simon Lewis, from University College London, the signing of the agreement is “good news that there is a political commitment to end deforestation in many countries and, above all, money to support this effort”.

“However, this agreement was actually concluded in 2014, and it did nothing to stop deforestation today.”

What went wrong in 2014?

  • The New York Declaration on Forests was a voluntary, non-legally binding agreement on deforestation in 2014
  • It has targeted clearing half of the forests by 2020 and halting it by 2030, with 40 governments finally joining. But some major countries such as Brazil and Russia were not among them.
  • But the deal failed and, according to a 2019 report, said deforestation is still continuing at an alarming rate.

image source, Getty Images

to explain,

A worker legally chops down a tree for an industrial company near Kisangani in the northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo

Major countries

for example, Indonesia is the main exporter of palm oil in the worldIt is a product that can be found from shampoos to cakes.

However, producing it means cutting tens of thousands of hectares to grow the palms where this oil is extracted.

Meanwhile, Russia, another signatory, has almost a fifth of the trees on the planet, which manage to absorb 1.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide annually.

And there’s also Brazil, where a large part of the Amazon, the world’s largest forest is located, which has experienced accelerated deforestation since Jair Bolsonaro came to power.

A question has arisen on this point: Can Bolsonaro be trusted to implement this plan?

“We will be safe when countries stick to the plan,” said British Environment Minister George Eustice.

“The last time a similar agreement was made, in 2014, There was no Brazil, no Russia, no China. That is why signing Brazil is a big step towards that goal.”

US President Joe Biden said he was “confident” that the goals of this agreement could be achieved.

“What we have to do is add intentions and do the right thing. We can do that.”

Danger area

“This agreement involves more countries, more players, and more money,” said Anna Yang, CEO of the Sustainability Accelerator at Chatham House, who co-authored the report Rethinking the Brazilian Amazon. “But the key is in the details we still need to see.”

Yang said it was a “big building block” to keep global temperature rises below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Tuntiac Catan, of the Amazon Basin Indigenous Communities Coordination, welcomed the agreement and said the money should be invested in supporting indigenous communities who can manage and protect the forests.

Catan, an indigenous Shuar people from Ecuador, told the BBC that indigenous communities globally protect 80% of the world’s biodiversity, but face serious threats to their lives.

image source, Getty Images

to explain,

Deforestation in Indonesia.

“We have maintained our way of life for years, and this has served to protect ecosystems and forests. Without us, neither money nor politics can stop climate change“, She said.

Trees are one of the main defenses in a warming world. They absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and act like so-called carbon pits. They absorb about a third of the global carbon dioxide emitted each year.

currently, Every minute you lose an area of ​​forest the size of 27 football fields.

Depleted forests can also start releasing carbon dioxide. If a lot of trees are cut down, scientists fear that the planet will reach a tipping point that will lead to sudden and unexpected climate change.

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